If you hear the sounds of rolling thunder rumbling through your neighborhood Saturday, don’t panic. It’s just a few stir crazy classic car buffs getting their rides out of quarantine for a cruise of Brookings and Crescent City neighborhoods.
With the cancellation of Brooking’s 26th Annual Azalea Festival Car Show due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Leslie Wilkinson had a late-night idea for a replacement.
“I know some of members of the Curry County Cruisers who help us decorate for the Azalea Christmas Light Festival. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to get cars out and cruise the town?” Wilkinson said.
So she reached out to her friends in the local car clubs, starting with Jim and Kathy Haggerty of the Curry County Cruisers. Jim, a previous president of the club for five years, said they were immediately all in and put out his own note to his car buddies.
“They were all excited. This would have been their big car show on the 23rd. Now that we're not doing the car show, the Northern Knights, all the car buffs want to get out. I was surprised how it went from zero to 60 in 10 days,” Jim said. “All the guys with classic are cars chomping at the bit to get out.”
The “unsanctioned cruise,” as Haggerty called it, will remain social distancing safe with the drivers remaining in their cars at all times throughout the route. He’s encouraging the older members to wear face masks as well.
Wilkinson and Haggerty mapped out a route for the cruise, which kicks off at noon at the Church of the Nazarene, located at 1600 Chetco Ave., in Brookings. Wilkinson said the interested cruisers already number more than 50. The participants will push out of the church parking lot at 1 p.m., cruising nearby neighborhoods.
Haggerty, who owns six classic cars and will cruise in his 1955 Chevy and his wife Kathy will roll in her 1934 Chevy Phaeton, said he drove the route through Brookings a couple of times, and the run comes to about 12-13 miles.
“That’s a lot of miles, not so much of Highway 101. It’s more winding through residential and past some of the senior centers,” Haggerty said. “Seaview always hosts an annual park and greet. They get to see the cars. They really enjoy it. I hope the kids can come out, too.”
The cruise will then skirt U.S. Highway 101 and instead head south on Lake Earl Drive. The cruise then takes a similar meandering route through Crescent City ending at Battery Point.
Wilkinson said the cruise is free, but she’s asking for donations for the Brookings and Crescent City food banks.
Both she and Haggerty emphasized this is not a protest cruise.
“This is not a political statement,” Wilkinson said. “So, no banners, just American flags just spreading love.”
Haggerty said as an unsanctioned cruise, streets will not be blocked off, lights will not be held for stragglers. He added anyone can participate in their family car.
“This is going to be fun. A lot of us put cars in the Azalea show with flags, red white and blue. We encourage that. And if you don’t have a classic car and want to participate, you can fall in at the end of the cruise,” Haggerty said.
For more information and a copy of the cruise map, go to https://lovecurrycounty.com.